Carroll County Times

101-year-old buys an electric car

Edward Heine, 101, stopped driving three years ago, but his 85-year-old wife, Hya, still does. On Wednesday, the pair traded in their Jaguar for a Chevrolet Volt, one of 14 electric cars currently on the U.S. market.

"Chevrolet?" Heine said, laughing. "Never would have believed it. But my wife wanted this electric car."

The Chevrolet Volt is the most widely sold plug-in hybrid vehicle, according to a July report from Bloomberg. Heine, an Army veteran and former consultant, said he decided to lease the car for two years because by then the technology will be so different.

"In two years, I'll trade it in. I don't expect to be alive, but my wife will be," Heine said.

Though the Heines are from Baltimore, they purchased the car from Len Stoler Chevrolet, because it sold the Volt. Sales manager Howard Longaker said their shop has sold around 12 Chevrolet Volts so far. While the car has an appeal to all age ranges, Longaker said the most typical customer is in their 30s and 40s.

Heine said he began driving at 16, and bought his first car at 26, in 1937. He bought a Ford convertible but enlisted in the Army for World War II in 1941. He went to France for the Korean War in 1951 to work in intelligence.

Edward married Hya at age 60, and the two have been married for 41 years. Hya already had three children, so the couple now has seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Heine said in his 82 years of driving, he got a total of four dents on his car.

"When I first drove a car - of course it was gears - we had three. First, second and third; that's all," Edward said, overseeing his wife learning the features of the Volt's navigation system. "I can't get over this. It does everything."

Hya said in recent years she has become much more open-minded than her husband.

"If you're going to live, you should be up to date, and try to be technologically intelligent," Hya said. "We both came to the conclusion that the next car should be environmentally friendly, and that's why we did it."

"We?" Edward responded, "You."

Hya said the pair built a house six years ago, when Edward was 95, and people told her she was crazy for building a house so late in life. Hya said she has no intention of slowing down now.

"I don't believe in lying down and taking off my shoes, and that's the end. I want to keep going. So does he, as much as he can. So that's how you live," Hya said.